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  • Ruchi Hendre

Virtual Production- Research on this Hot Topic

Updated: Mar 8

For my presentation of a current research topic in the technical animation class, I decided to know more about virtual production. I got interested in this topic when I visited the company Magnopus this January and learnt about their virtual production tech used for the move Lion King.


Earlier my knowledge about virtual production was very limited, and previz was the only form of virtual production that I knew. I hope this blog serves as a starting time to the reader to know about virtual production and it's encompassing nature.


Definition:According to the team at Weta Digital, “Virtual production is where the physical and digital worlds meet. (source: Epic Virtual Production Manual)


What problem is virtual production trying to solve?

VFX Pipelines and the film production phase are far removed from each other, while shooting the film there is a level of uncertainty as to what the final shot will look. Virtual production is a means to bridge the gap between the film crew( director, cinematographer, actor) and the post production and pre-production artists. This will result in a more collaborative atmosphere and less turnaround time making last minute changes, and less creative compromise.


Types of Virtual Productions (source: Epic Virtual Production Manual)

1. Visualization

Visualization consists of all forms of visuals before the process happens, it can be classified into pitchvis, previs,techvis, postvis, virtual scouting and stuntvis.

2. Performance Capture

Motion capture technology enhanced using virtual production, lots of research has been conducted in this field. Some research papers that I found are:

https://dl.acm.org/doi/abs/10.1145/3084363.3085053

https://digital-library.theiet.org/content/conferences/10.1049/ibc.2016.0031

https://animationsinstitut.de/fileadmin/user_upload/files_forschung/pdf/Publications/VPET_ETech2018.pdf

3. Hybrid Green Screen Live

This is heavily used in the news industry for real time telecast, there is also a post produced version that is used to preview the compositing, lights etc during film production.

4. Full Live LED Wall.

This is the state of the art technology where the shooting is taking place with the exact environment being simulated behind the actors on a huge LED Screen.


Please see this YouTube video for making a more comprehensive image about virtual production in your mind:




My Takeaways:

1. The intent of virtual production is to make VFX and Animation pipelines more efficient.

2. The Director has more control over the look and feel, there is less uncertainty.

3. The Actors have more realistic performances when they are not talking to a green screen prop.

4. Technologies are ever evolving and this means that it will reach to someone who doesn’t have the means to do a full fledged high budget vfx, animation production.

5. VFX Artists, Compositors, Animators and film crew collaborate rather than working separately.


Hope you enjoyed this blog!

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